Project Green Studio - Part 3: Plastic Cling Wrap

“Hi my name is Stephanie and I’m addicted to cling wrap.”


I used to use plastic wrap all the time. Like every day. It’s good for storing paint overnight so it doesn’t dry out, sealing containers with liquid, protecting things during shipping, etc etc.

The problems is, it can’t be recycled and the possibility of reuse is so slim. All two hundred square feet of it that I bought will end up in the trash. So how do I solve the problems cling wrap fixes and never buy more of it?

I use my rapidly developing system of breaking down the uses I need it to solve and find as many alternatives as possible. For cling wrap, I used it the most for preserving my oils.

Alternatives for storing oil paint:

  • Paint more often. Seriously, if you are going in every day (or every other day) most oil colors won’t get hard and will be fine uncovered. Also, if you live in a colder climate the oil paint won’t harden as quickly.

  • Put your pallet in the freezer. My studio doesn’t have a freezer. But, if you work from home, using a freezer will ensure the paint will be fresh every session. Colder space=longer lasting color.

  • Sealed pallet storage boxes. Go to a second hand shop and get a battered tupperwear container that has a lid that seals. Easy! Buying second hand will make you less precious and more willing to make a mess with your paint storage. Or use something you’ve already got :)

  • Drop it in water. I had a teacher who taught me this. Take your pile of paint and put it in a jar of some sort. Fill it with water till the color is completely covered. When you are ready to paint again, drain the water, let the left over drops evaporate (or soak it up with a rag) and get painting!

Need protection during shipping? If you are using bubble wrap anyways then you don’t need more plastic. Use paper tape that activates when wet. I’ll get around to talking about shipping in a future post.

Sealing containers with liquid inks? Food storage containers like mason jars and rubber lined aluminum boxes work great. This is a great opportunity to use old gesso tubs too. I also find that beeswax paper is a great sealant replacement for cling wrap in this case, but less so for oil color.

Just like that, we’ve eliminated the major uses of cling wrap in my own studio practice. If you are using cling wrap for any other reason get creative! You don’t need to use it and it’s one less thing to buy. Saving $$ for the next art residency you are going to is way more fun than buying another box of plastic wrap. :)